The Fire of Images: An Announcement

White Puddleduck

This is the 5th post of 5 in a series on photography.

  1. Why I Started To Take Photos
  2. Why I Continue To Take Photos
  3. Why I Think You Should Take Photos
  4. Some Practical Tips
  5. Photography Announcement

Over the last week, we’ve covered quite a lot of ground, but there’s one last thing that I want to write about by way of conclusion to this series: Flickr. I’ve mentioned Flickr quite a few times, as I think it’s important to share your creativity. The creative acts of taking the photograph and editing it naturally lead to the inviting of others to share what you have produced.

Now I’m still very much a learner when it comes to Flickr. I’ve been using it for a while now, but I don’t use it as intensively as some. What I’d like to do in this post, however, is share a few pointers that I’ve picked up, to help you get the most out of your Flickr account, as well as flagging up a few areas that I need to do some more work on, because I really do see great potential in them.

  • Tags: This is only something that I’ve started doing in the last 4 months or so, but it has completely changed the way I use my account. It was recommended to me by someone to use tags to increase my visibility on Flickr and to attract more people to my photos. However, what I’ve discovered is, that by using tags, I can find my own photos a whole lot easier. It’s made them searchable, thereby making them useable for integration into blog posts. When writing the 4th post in this series, in which I used many of my Flickr pictures, using the tags to search within my own photostream reduced the amount of time I had to spend trawling through all my images looking for something appropriate. If you are going to start using your own pictures in your blog posts, tagging is essential.
  • Descriptions: I’m afraid this is one that I still don’t make full use of. What I have started to do though, and which has had a surprising effect, is that, when I include an image from my photostream in one of my blog posts here, I add a link to the post in the description of the image. What I’m finding is that people are clicking on that link and arriving at the blog to read more. It’s become a source of traffic that is very easy for me to maintain, and is completely organic, in that, the person clicking through has already connected with me through my shared perspective.
  • Contacts: Of course, it’s not all just about you sharing your own perspective; it’s about accepting invitations to share the perspective of others too. I connect with many people online: through this blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. But it is through Flickr that I visually connect with their perspective, and that to me is a very special thing indeed. By connecting through Flickr and visiting others’ photostreams, you get to peek through a window into their world, their environment, but more than that, you get to see the way they see things – a way which is necessarily unique to them and to them alone.
  • Comments: I love getting comments on my Flickr account. To know that someone has engaged with one of my images to the extent that they have felt moved to comment is just the best feeling. Just like when I write here, and my wonderful community chooses to respond, it gives a sense of connection, of validation, of purpose. Comments strengthen a community – without a range of voices a blog or a Flickr account just becomes a soapbox. Strengthen the Flickr community by lending your own voice to the conversation.
  • Favourites: This is another function on Flickr that I don’t use as often as I should, but that I want to investigate further. I know that when one of my photos is favourited by another Flickr member, I get the same positive feelings that I do from a comment. What I want to try and do with my future Flickr use is to make sure I share those positive feelings with other Flickr members, but most particularly with my Flickr contacts. I’m going to be making a point of favouriting a lot more often!
  • Groups: For a long time now, I haven’t really understood how to get the best out of groups on Flickr. I’ve joined quite a few, most of them with a Scottish emphasis, but rarely do my contributions receive much attention. However, all this is about to change…


I am launching my own Flickr group, which will be affiliated to Lives Less Ordinary, and I want you to join me there. The group is called Photography Less Ordinary, and to learn more about it, here’s the group description:

Do you want to gain confidence in your photography? Do you want to share the specialness that you see in the everyday? Do you want to embrace your creativity?

Over at my blog, Lives Less Ordinary, I share my conscious engagement with my environment through photographs and reflective thought, in order to show that beauty surrounds us all.

I’ve set up this group so that readers of the blog can share their own unique perspective with the rest of the community. It would be great if you could give a brief description along with your photo: where you were at the time, why you took the photo, what you like about it. If you choose to include your photo in a blog post, you can include your link in the description as well. Flickr accepts some html in the photo descriptions.

It is my hope that, if nothing else, this group will inspire you to pick up your camera and start experimenting with photography.

Ok, so the plan is to provide an extra space for my community here to get to know each other better, to form firm friendships, to find support for their photographic endeavours, as well as providing a space where we can share in each others perspectives, revel in the specialness another member has invited us to appreciate, and embrace the immense diversity of our environments.

The group is by invite only, so in the first instance I am going to send invites to every one of my current contacts on Flickr. If you do not have a Flickr account, but you would like to be involved, you can head over and sign up for a free account, and then click here, which will take you to my Flickr profile, where you can add me as a contact. Any new contacts that I receive will be sent an invite to join Photography Less Ordinary.

I have restricted the number of photos you can contribute to 5 per week, so choose the ones you are most proud of and add them to the group. I’ve started a discussion thread where you can introduce yourself, which I strongly recommend, and I hope to have a variety of discussions on the go there soon. I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you to comment and favourite generously on the group photos. I want it to be a place which nurtures and supports and, as I’ve already said here, commenting and favouriting can do both of these things wonderfully well.

Do you have any Flickr pointers that you would like to add here? Is there something that you would like to explore further through Flickr?

Oh, and most importantly, will I see you over at Photography Less Ordinary?


May 23, 2008. Photography.


  1. Jacqui Lofthouse replied:

    Hello Amy,

    What a wonderful idea! How exciting about the new group and well done to you for launching this… you can be sure to see me there…

  2. Allison replied:

    Yay! I got an invite! I feel so special. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Flickr is a great resource, and a great way to show the world what you can do. I’ve already left a comment at the group! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Joanna Young replied:

    This is a great round up to the series Amy, and I suspect the start of something very exciting for all of us.

    I never expected to get any comments on any of my flickr pics and it’s a total buzz when I do – also a good way to learn what works, or resonates from what people respond to.

    I’m definitely up for the group!

    See you there.


  4. Celticangel replied:

    I’ve joined the group. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Also, I’ve friended you on Facebook, just FYI.)

    Fabulous idea. Today I had the opportunity to photograph a friend of mine who is a new mother. My friend saw some of my pics, and wanted me to take some with her camera, too.

    Thank you for this series of posts. They were well written and well timed. (I’m on vacation this week.)

  5. David replied:

    Hi Amy,

    I would love to connect with you and the rest of the readers of LivesLessOrdinary on Flickr! I’ll look you up and add you as a Flickr contact.

  6. Nadine T. replied:

    Hi Amy,

    I hope to be graced with an invitation to your Flickr group! I love this last post, you are doing great.

    Have a fabulous weekend!

  7. mrschili replied:

    Wow! Instruction AND motivation! Thank you for the invitation; I shall do my best to live up to it…

    (if you haven’t already (and I don’t think you have) would you please invite Gerry of His photography is stunning – just stunning – and I think he’d be a great addition to your group – better than I will be, that’s for certain…)

  8. travelerstales replied:

    Great idea! I’ve added you as a contact and look forward to participating. Thank you for all the wise words and great insights.

  9. Bo replied:

    I heartily approve. This is a great idea.

  10. Karen Swim replied:

    Amy, I got my invite and responded immediately! Thank you! This is a wonderful idea and I love the extending of the community to Flickr. Must get that camera now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. amypalko replied:

    Thanks to everyone so far who has joined up to Photography Less Ordinary. Your enthusiasm for this project has been just overwhelming. As I write this response, there are already 42 members! I do so hope that you all enjoy contributing there and that you find your membership a fulfilling and encouraging one ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Teacher Girl replied:

    Thanks for this fabulous initiative. I have just finished opening a Flickr account and I feel all fluttery inside. Have a lovely weekend.

  13. Flickr Group Update « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] you haven’t joined yet, and you would like to, check out this post and then add me as a Flickr contact.ย  I will send an invite to all those who do so.ย  Why […]

  14. amypalko replied:

    I look forward to seeing you there, Teacher Girl!

  15. gilda replied:

    that’s a really pretty picture! i wish i could take better photographs. but alas i have neither the money to buy a good camera which means i have nothing to brush up my skills which means… no skills. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ heh

  16. rlovison replied:


    A better camera may allow you to take better pictures though I personally feel you don’t need an expensive camera to take great images. An average camera will do though I feel desire, support from others knowledgeable in the field, a sense of self and awareness of your surroundings are most important.


  17. amypalko replied:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to Gilda’s comment, Richard. I completely agree with you.

    I know some people, Gilda, that can take amazing photos using the camera in their phone! I think that our technology has got to such an advanced stage now, that even an ‘average’ camera can allow you to take great photos. The trick is, as Richard says, to develop a sense of awareness of your environment and to have fun experimenting and playing with what images you can come up with. Have fun, and let me know how you get on!

  18. rlovison replied:


    Just now my intuition is telling me that I might have overstepped my boundaries by responding directly to the author of a post made on your blog. I apologize if I violated protocol in some way.

    It’s just that when someone’s judgment is in error — in this case, that more expensive, pro, or more sophisticated photography equipment is necessary to express oneself and produce a “good” photograph — I feel a need to shed some light I guess. It’s not the equipment… it’s what you do with it.

    That’s why I was to attracted to your site as I feel you and those like you, are what this world is in need of… people who can reinforce the idea that we are all unique and special and have something to offer. Our focus needs to turn inward in my opinion or at least achieve a better balance between looking out and looking in.

  19. amypalko replied:

    Oh, Richard, you have not overstepped any boundary! This is a community in which I try to encourage interaction between readers and commenters, and your contributions are most certainly a valuable component of that community.

    What’s more, I absolutely agree with your viewpoint that expensive equipment is unnecessary to the taking of good photos, and that ‘Itโ€™s not the equipmentโ€ฆ itโ€™s what you do with it.’

    I do so hope that you will continue to join in the conversation, responding both the the original post and the other commenters. It is through this interaction that strong communities are created ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. wendikelly replied:

    I found the flicker group first and now this post. I’m a little backwards coming home from my trip!
    I did ask to join though so hopefully this will work. How Fun!!!

  21. Graham replied:

    Hello Amy ๐Ÿ˜€

    I want to say a big thank you for your invite. I have always loved your photography…. I look forward to seeing everybody there and enjoying their contributions. I will of course include some of mine too!

    Congratulations on another great idea!!!

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